Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment:

March 22, 2017 - 3:57 am


NEW: 3rd day of confirmation hearings

WASHINGTON (AP) — Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch enter a third day today.

Republicans predict he'll win confirmation.

But a growing number of Democrats are calling for Gorsuch's confirmation to be delayed because of the FBI investigation of ties between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley says that's "ridiculous."


UPDATE: Trump makes final push for health care bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — "If you don't pass the bill there could be political costs."

That's what Republican Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina says was the message delivered by President Donald Trump when Trump met Tuesday with the House GOP to talk about dismantling and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Trump is trying to get more Republicans to sign on to the replacement for "Obamacare."

The House is expected to vote on the plan Thursday, but its passage remains dicey.


UPDATE: Seoul says NKorea's latest missile test ends in failure

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's Defense Ministry says it doesn't yet know what kind of missile North Korea launched on Wednesday.

Seoul says the launch from the eastern coastal town of Wonsan appears to have been a failure.

The U.S. Pacific Command says the missile "appears to have exploded within seconds of launch."


Belgian king, queen, leaders mark attacks anniversary

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgian leaders, victims and families of those who died in the March 22 suicide bomb attacks on the Brussels airport and subway are making the first anniversary of the attacks, which killed 32 people.

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde joined Prime Minister Charles Michel at the airport, where two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the departure hall during the morning peak travel period.

More than 300 people were wounded in the attacks, claimed by the Islamic State group, but around 900 people now number themselves among the victims to have suffered physical or mental trauma.

Commemorations are also taking place at the Maelbeek subway station, and at a new memorial to be officially unveiled in the Belgian capital's European quarter.


South Korea gets set to start salvage of submerged ferry

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean workers have started tests to determine if they can begin salvaging a 6,800-ton ferry that sank in 2014, killing more than 300 people and triggering the initial public uproar that contributed to the recent ouster of Park Geun-hye as president.

An official from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said it was not clear if the salvage operations can begin Wednesday.

Workers on two barges have started slipping as many as 66 cables beneath the Sewol ferry, which lying on its left side in about 40 meters (130 feet) of water. The cables are connected to a frame of metal beams divers have spent months putting in place.

The bodies of 295 passengers were recovered after the sinking in April 2014, but nine are still missing.


Vietnam sentences 9 men to death for drug trafficking

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese state media say a court has sentenced nine men to death for trafficking more than 1,000 pounds of heroin.

The Tuoi Tre newspaper reported that the court in Hoa Binh province also sentenced nine others to life imprisonment and four others from 17 to 20 years in jail at the end of the 23-day trial on Tuesday.

The newspaper reported Wednesday that the ring was convicted of trafficking 495 kilograms (1,089 pounds) of heroin from Laos through Vietnam for sale in China from 2012 until the ring was broken up in 2015.

The newspaper says the ring made illegal profits of $672,000.

Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws, where trafficking 100 grams of heroin is punishable by death.


1 student dead, 20 injured in stampede at Chinese school

BEIJING (AP) — A local government in central China says one student has died and 20 others were injured following a stampede during a morning bathroom break at an elementary school.

The Puyang county government in Henan province says Wednesday's incident is under investigation.

Overcrowding and poor building design and construction have been blamed for past crushing deaths and injuries at Chinese schools. Other safety problems have included the use of running tracks made from scrap that sickened students with their noxious fumes.

China deadliest stampede incident in recent years came during new year festivities on Jan. 1, 2015, when 36 people died in a crush along Shanghai's riverfront esplanade.


Vietnam suspends air controller for sleeping on duty

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam's aviation authority has suspended three air traffic controllers, including one who fell asleep while on duty, for causing delays for two flights.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said in a statement on its website late Tuesday that it had recommended that the sleeping controller and one other controller also be fined.

The online Dan Tri newspaper reported that the crews on two flights — one departing and one arriving — could not contact the air traffic control at Cat Bi airport in northern city of Hai Phong for 33 minutes on March 9.

The newspaper said one controller was absent while the main air traffic controller was sleeping. A technician was also suspended.

The flights were eventually able to depart and land successfully.


'Gong Show' creator Chuck Barris dies at 87

NEW YORK (AP) — Game show impresario Chuck Barris has died at 87.

Barris, the madcap producer of "The Gong Show" and "The Dating Game," died of natural causes Tuesday afternoon at his home in Palisades, New York.

Publicist Paul Shefrin announced Barris' death on behalf of his family.

In addition to being a game show creator, producer and host, he also was a best-selling author and had success in the music world. He wrote the 1962 hit record, "Palisades Park," which was recorded by Freddy Cannon.

Barris is survived by his wife of 16 years.


NEW: Police: Utah teens plotted to shoot girl over texts

LOGAN, Utah (AP) — A juvenile court judge in Utah has ruled that there's enough evidence for a 16-year-old boy to stand trial in the shooting death of a 14-year-old girl.

The boy and another teen are accused of concocting a plan to attack Deserae Turner, who had been texting one of them.

Her body was found Feb. 17 in a dry canal in the small town of Smithfield.

The 16-year-old is accused of pulling the trigger. The other teen has a hearing on Thursday.


Survey: US high schools seen as easier by exchange students

WASHINGTON (AP) — Easier classes, less homework and lots of sports — this is how American high schools are viewed by students from other countries studying in the U.S.

Foreign exchange students continue to view the American high school experience as much less stimulating. That's according to a study published Wednesday. This reaction comes after a push in recent years to make the U.S. education system more competitive and effective.

Tom Loveless, a fellow with the Brown Center on Education Policy with the Brookings Institution, had findings in his study that appear to corroborate international student assessment tests in which American schools trail behind many developed countries.

But some experts had questions about the study's methodology.

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